Thursday, May 16, 2013

Jobless Claims: Highest In Six Weeks -- Wow, What Was Not Mentioned In The Headline -- How High The Number Jumped; Truly Incredible: If I Had Television I Could Hear The Administration's Spin

I apologize. There were a lot of typographical errors in the original post. I think I have corrected most (all?) of them. I am pretty exhausted from the move (which continues) and warned folks I would likely make mistakes. No factual data incorrect; most of the errors were grammatical errors. 


Later, 11:00 a.m.: I am quite surprised at the market today. The jobs report was about as bad it gets: a) jobless claims jumped by 32,000 for no known reason; b) economists expect the 2Q13 GDP to contract even more than the 1Q13 GDP; and, c) housing starts were the lowest in five months. The market continues to respond positively. This suggests to me a) "the market" is getting used to the "new normal"; and, b) "the market" knows the numbers mean the Boss is not going to cut back on quantitative easing any time soon. In fact, with inflation moving away from his unofficial, unstated target of 2% there are folks who think the Boss will increase that quantitative easing. I think that's the first rule of investing: "don't fight the Fed."

Disclaimer: this is not an investment site; do not make any investment decisions based on what you read here or what you think you read here.

Original Post
Bloomberg is reporting:
More Americans than projected filed applications for unemployment benefits last week, which may raise concern the slowdown in economic growth is prompting an increase in firings.
Jobless claims jumped by 32,000 to 360,000 in the week ended May 11, exceeding all forecasts in a Bloomberg survey of economists and the most since the end of March, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. A Labor Department spokesman said no state provided information explaining the surge in applications which was the biggest since the aftermath of superstorm Sandy in November.
Job dismissals need to keep declining to lay the ground for a pickup in hiring once companies see growth in sales. The lack of bigger gains in employment, at a time Americans are faced with a higher payroll tax, will make it harder for households to sustain spending, the biggest part of the economy.
This confirms my feeling that despite occasional good stories regarding jobs, overall things are not good. Horrible might not be too strong a word.

Anyone think Bernanke is going to ease on quantitative easing?

Someone asked a very interesting question yesterday. The Obama administration is quick to brag about all the success stories. One of the biggest success stories this year has been the surging stock market, Dow, S&P, and Nasdaq have all set new records. Has anyone heard Mr Obama brag about the success he has had getting the economy moving again, based on the stock market? Nope. Know why? Because his base, the 47% of Americans that will never vote for American economic success are not participating in the Wall Street surge.

This is simply not good.

I don't recall many times when initial jobless claims jump 30,000 or more. It usually happens after a major explainable, identifiable event, like a hurricane that wipes out the northeast coast. This most recent reporting period: nothing to explain the surge. And numbers are usually revised upwards one week later.

Last week's figures, for example, were revised upward from 328,000 to 323,000.

The four-week moving average, a less volatile measure, also rose, from 339,250 to 338,000.

Benanke is concerned that inflation continues to fall. The unofficial, unstated target is 2%. It fell another 0.4 percent. Anyone think Bernanke is going to ease on quantitative easing?

Housing starts also fell more than forecast in April, to a five-month low.

I couldn't find any good news in the linked article. If you find any, let me know.

Interestingly, there was no mention of the 800-pound gorilla in the living room in that article: ObamaCare. That TrainWreck will hit in October. Just in time for Halloween. Appropriate. Order your costume now.


In way over his head.
Three scandals.
Economy expected to contract to 1.6% in 2Q13 after 2.5% growth in 1Q13. 
Cue up Connie Francis. Yes, there is something to trickle down economics. and we're not getting any trickling. Maybe Krugman is right. The government needs to spend more money.


 What are the worst states for the unemployed?

10. Maryland, blue.
9. Florida, red.
8. Alaska, red. Hurt by federal no-drill policy.
7. New Jersey, blue, notwithstanding the governor.
6. Delaware, blue.
5. Illinois, very blue.
4. New York, even bluer.
3. California, deep blue.
2. Connecticut, is it possible to be bluer than New York?
1. DC -- I thought this "blue" district was recession immune. 

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